Private Insurance Markets or Redistributive Taxes?

58 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2008

See all articles by Dirk Krueger

Dirk Krueger

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Fabrizio Perri

Leonard N. Stern School of Business - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: March 1999

Abstract

We explore the welfare consequences of different taxation schemes in an economy where agents are debt-constrained. If agents default on their debt, they are banned from future intertemporal trade, but retain their private (labor) endowments which are subject to income taxation. We impose individual rationality constraints on agents guaranteeing no default in equilibrium and we solve for efficient consumption distribution across agents. A change in the tax system changes the severity of punishment from default. We demonstrate that a change to a more redistributive tax system leads to a restriction of the set of contracts that are individually rational and that this restriction leads to a limitation of possible risk sharing via private contracts. The welfare consequences of a change in the tax system depend on the relative magnitudes of increased risk sharing forced by the new tax system and the reduced risk sharing in private insurance markets. We quantitatively address this issue by calibrating an artificial economy to US income and tax data. We show that for a plausible selection of the structural parameters of our model, the change to a more redistributive tax system leads to less risk sharing among individuals and, hence, lower ex-ante welfare.

Suggested Citation

Krueger, Dirk and Perri, Fabrizio, Private Insurance Markets or Redistributive Taxes? (March 1999). NYU Working Paper No. S-MF-99-07, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1300259

Dirk Krueger (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics ( email )

Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science
133 South 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6297
United States
215-898-6691 (Phone)
215-573-2057 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.upenn.edu/~dkrueger/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Fabrizio Perri

Leonard N. Stern School of Business - Department of Economics ( email )

269 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10003
United States
212-998-0251 (Phone)
212-995-4218 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/~fperri/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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